Optimal, low-thrust earth-orbit transfers using higher-order collocation methods

Albert L. Herman, David B. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


A trajectory optimization technique based upon higher-order collocation is used to solve optimal, low-thrust, Earth-orbit transfer problems. The optimal control problem solved is defined, and the solution method for solving this problem is described. For several example cases analyzed, a spacecraft is transferred from low Earth orbit to a variety of final mission orbits. A range of thrust accelerations from approximately 1 to 10-3 g was used. A comparison is made between the optimal transfers found in this work and the transfers found by using analytical blended control methods. Finally, conclusions drawn from this work are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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